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Ongoing Project: Biological and social impacts of aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes: development of scenarios through expert judgment and assessment of impacts on recreational angling.

Richard Ready, Pennsylvania State University, Bruce Lauber, Lars Rudstam, Richard Stedman, Nancy Connelly, and Gregory Poe, Cornell University ( Funded by the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission) 

The magnitude of future impacts of aquatic invasive species (AIS) on Great Lakes fish communities and the subsequent impacts on recreational fisheries are potentially large, but unknown and the subject of intense public debate. With little scientific basis, stakeholders are making projections of the impacts of AIS on sport fishing that range from negligible to catastrophic. Projections of the consequences of AIS in the Great Lakes should be based on the best ecological science available on the potential impacts of AIS on fish communities and on the best social science available on how anglers will react and be impacted by those changes. In 2015, this project analyzed data from a workshop with participants from around the Great Lakes that was run at CBFS. Questions we are addressing includes (1) what are the potential impacts of AIS on recreationally-important Great Lakes fish species? and (2) what are the potential impacts of AIS on sport fishing participation and value? These questions are addressed by developing an economic model of Great Lakes recreational angling that projects how sport fishing participation and value would change as a result of changes in sport fish abundance, developing a set of plausible, science-based ecological scenarios about the possible effects of AIS on recreationally important fish populations in the Great Lakes and using the angler behavior model to project the impact the AIS scenarios would have on angler behavior and on the net economic value of recreational fishing in the Great Lakes.